The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
narikis
Member
Posts: 46
Joined: 25 Sep 2020 11:34
Location: Internet

The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by narikis » 27 Oct 2020 14:52

I'm not asking about "best" or most effective, but out of all LMGs that saw service during WW2:

- What would your nomination be for the most durable design? The LMG that was most likely to withstand rough handling or muddy/dirty conditions without malfunction?

AND

-What would be your nomination for the simplest design? The LMG that was arguably the least complicated to operate, strip, and clean.

Doesn't have to be the same weapon for both categories. I'm curious to hear what people think.

User avatar
Poot
Member
Posts: 481
Joined: 29 Dec 2010 03:38

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Poot » 28 Oct 2020 08:06

'Light' implies bipod mounted, so I would think that the Bren would rank highly among this class.
He who lives by the sword, should train with it frequently.

User avatar
JTV
Member
Posts: 1986
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 10:03
Location: Finland

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by JTV » 28 Oct 2020 19:37

Narikis - I am afraid that your question may not really good reply on this forum. There were over 30 light machinegun designs used in World War 2, but it is pretty much impossible to find a person who would have had personal experience and knowledge even third of that number.

Generally speaking, when it comes to reliability in muddy conditions it is preferred to try keep mud from entering the weapon's action to begin with, hence designs with best-sealed action and feed system would have probably been best in muddy/dirty conditions. But also loose tolerances and design being easy to clean if mud gets inside the weapon would have been very useful as well.

Figuring out most simple design to strip and clean would not be easy either. Pretty much the only way to figure out that really would be to have actual experience of stripping and cleaning those guns. As a type of military small arm light machineguns tend to be more complicated designs than rifles or submachine guns, but I doubt many of them were truly so complicated that the difficulty of stripping or cleaning the gun would have substantial enough to really matter instead of many other characteristics.

Light machinegun really did not become a major thing in military use until during World War 1 - only about two decades before start of World War 2, hence much of the old WW1 guns saw use also in the WW2. Due to light machinegun concept being still so new, there were quite a few unusual designs, which also saw use in WW2.

In my opinion the light machinegun being excellent in those two categories also does not necessarily make it overall the best of its kind, since there are many other details to consider as well.

I suspect Soviet DP would do pretty well in those areas that you are asking. Both the gun and its magazines are quite well-sealed against mud and tolerances loose enough for the weapon to remain reliable even when very dirty. Basic design is also quite simple to maintain, although field-stripping the gun demands knowing the right way of doing it. The gun designs has its own problem points as well, but they are not these.

narikis
Member
Posts: 46
Joined: 25 Sep 2020 11:34
Location: Internet

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by narikis » 28 Oct 2020 20:21

JTV wrote:
28 Oct 2020 19:37
Narikis - I am afraid that your question may not really good reply on this forum. There were over 30 light machinegun designs used in World War 2, but it is pretty much impossible to find a person who would have had personal experience and knowledge even third of that number.
Fortunately I've received tons of replies already on another forum. I just thought I'd post here given the subject matter.
JTV wrote:
28 Oct 2020 19:37
As a type of military small arm light machineguns tend to be more complicated designs than rifles or submachine guns, but I doubt many of them were truly so complicated that the difficulty of stripping or cleaning the gun would have substantial enough to really matter instead of many other characteristics.
Yes, but there were still some designs that were inherently more complicated than others, I am only asking about the simplest by LMG standards of the day, I'm not expecting some AK-47 of WW2 LMGs. For instance, having watched field-strips of both, I would think that a basic field strip and clean of a Bren was easier than of a Breda 30.
JTV wrote:
28 Oct 2020 19:37
In my opinion the light machinegun being excellent in those two categories also does not necessarily make it overall the best of its kind, since there are many other details to consider as well.
Of course, that's why I stated in my opening post that I'm not interested in what the "best" LMG was (if such a thing even truly exists), I was merely curious to see if anyone familiar with this subject could offer an opinion of which LMGs best filled the two roles I mentioned.
JTV wrote:
28 Oct 2020 19:37
I suspect Soviet DP would do pretty well in those areas that you are asking. Both the gun and its magazines are quite well-sealed against mud and tolerances loose enough for the weapon to remain reliable even when very dirty. Basic design is also quite simple to maintain, although field-stripping the gun demands knowing the right way of doing it. The gun designs has its own problem points as well, but they are not these.
Thank you, the DP family is not one I'm too familiar with, I should really try to find some sources on it so I can get a better idea of the design...

User avatar
Hans1906
Member
Posts: 2250
Joined: 06 Jan 2020 23:13
Location: Deutschland

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Hans1906 » 05 Nov 2020 13:47

Good afternoon narikis,

the BAR, the "M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle" for sure belongs into this category.

Wikipedia (E) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1918_Bro ... atic_Rifle

An extremely solid piece of american gunsmithing, very reliable, and also accurate, if you ever had the chance to shoot with the Browning yourself, you will confirm this, excellent automatic rifle, light machine gun.

Attached pic:
Steve McQueen / Browning M1918 / 1966 movie "The Sand Pebbles".


Hans1906
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Es ist im Leben wichtig, viel zu wissen.
Manchmal ist es noch wichtiger, zu wissen, daß man nichts weiß.

User avatar
Poot
Member
Posts: 481
Joined: 29 Dec 2010 03:38

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Poot » 06 Nov 2020 00:56

Hans1906 wrote:
05 Nov 2020 13:47
An extremely solid piece of american gunsmithing, very reliable, and also accurate, if you ever had the chance to shoot with the Browning yourself, you will confirm this, excellent automatic rifle, light machine gun.
I agree, they are VERY accurate, and there is very little muzzle rise.
He who lives by the sword, should train with it frequently.

LineDoggie
Member
Posts: 579
Joined: 03 Oct 2008 20:06

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by LineDoggie » 06 Nov 2020 00:58

Magazine fed-
ZB26/30/Bren series
BAR, M1918A2 and FN Mle 1930, Polish Wz.
Mendoza RM2
Madsen
FM 24/29 Chatellerault
Vickers-Berthier


Belt fed-
MG42
M1919A6 (yes not the best due to weight but an uber reliable base gun in the Browning M1919A4) you literally cannot break it



I disagree with the DP28 as the pan mag is susceptible to denting and the recoil spring is located below the Barrel with the OP rod Same for the Lewis gun in that the Pan mag is the weak point. Moreso in the lewis due to it being open to the elements
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

User avatar
Poot
Member
Posts: 481
Joined: 29 Dec 2010 03:38

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Poot » 06 Nov 2020 08:01

Strong points, LineDoggie!
I don't like pan/drum mags either. I found the drum magazine on the PPSh-41 (not a MG, but the point is still valid) to be a pain to keep from malfunctioning.
He who lives by the sword, should train with it frequently.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3093
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Sheldrake » 06 Nov 2020 10:37

The Bren suffered from magazine related stoppages. The springs were weak and if the magazine was loaded to capacity or magazines or kept loaded for a long time before use the result was likely to be a stoppage. It wasn't a problem that those of us who used the weapon in peacetime experienced, The gun itself is great and a much better LMG than the BAR.
Judging from this head to head comparison the BAR suffered as much if not more from erasily damaged magazines.
[tube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-CfuvCHq4I[/tube]

Hisname
Member
Posts: 125
Joined: 01 Sep 2018 15:48
Location: RF

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Hisname » 06 Nov 2020 13:56

1) ZB-26
2) BREN
3) BAR

User avatar
Hans1906
Member
Posts: 2250
Joined: 06 Jan 2020 23:13
Location: Deutschland

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Hans1906 » 06 Nov 2020 19:35

Good evening Sheldrake,

thanks for the link to the video, very interesting to watch, btw., was this the late R. Lee Ermey in the video..? :lol:

The Browning BAR we had the chance to test at a german shooting range in the early 1980s was converted to
semi-automatic fire, the full-auto version was and still is illegal here in Germany.

Excellent LMG, in the same quality as the famous Thompson M1A1, "american iron", heavy, excellent quality, a very solid
piece of machinery.
I had a deactivated M1A1 in my collection long ago, sold to another collector, a mistake. :cry:

Greetings

Hans1906
Es ist im Leben wichtig, viel zu wissen.
Manchmal ist es noch wichtiger, zu wissen, daß man nichts weiß.

User avatar
JTV
Member
Posts: 1986
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 10:03
Location: Finland

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by JTV » 06 Nov 2020 20:32

narikis wrote:
28 Oct 2020 20:21

Thank you, the DP family is not one I'm too familiar with, I should really try to find some sources on it so I can get a better idea of the design...
This routine maintenance disassembly & putting the gun back together is in Czech language, but it shows the process quite well:


As for Browning M1918 & M1918A2 based on what I have seen online I would not necessarily consider it a particularly easy LMG design to disassemble or assemble back into working order. The interesting part starts circa timecode 32:30 of this video:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkMc8IurfAY&t[/youtube]

What I remember from MG 42 (it has been few years since I got my hands dirty with one) it is indeed quite easy design in this regard. IMHO any list about best light machineguns of World War 2 would be incomplete without it just because of these two reasons alone:
- The role it played in introduction of general purpose machine gun concept.
- Introduction of totally new manufacturing techniques and completely new (successful) bolt mechanism type.
- The design proved so successful that MG 3 based on is still used in dozens of countries.



Linedoggie - would you provide a source about DP pan magazine being susceptible denting? I know that the Soviets were unhappy about the recoil spring location (hence development of DPM). Funny thing is that the Finns who captured some 8,400 guns, made it their de facto standard issue LMG and kept using the guns for decades never noticed either problem. The recoil spring issue may have been related to machine gun tactics - what I have been told the Soviets to have at least in a degree used DP as if it was lighter Maxim and were often shooting whole mags as one long burst, while Finnish soldiers were trained to shoot short aimed bursts only. Finnish equipment kit for the gun also included spare barrel, which seem to have often been missing from the Soviet kit. Belt-feed would have obviously been better, but during WW2 there were very few light machinegun designs with it yet. The main issue with DP pan mags is that loading ammunition into them is not easy (best done was two-man job) and the mags themselves are not particularly easy to carry.

Poot - the reason why PPSh-41 drum mags are unreliable is apparently related to poor manufacturing tolerances and quality control. The magazine design is directly based on Y. Koskinen's drum mag design for Suomi M/31, which work just perfect.

User avatar
Poot
Member
Posts: 481
Joined: 29 Dec 2010 03:38

Re: The most durable and the simplest LMGs of WW2?

Post by Poot » 07 Nov 2020 20:15

That would make sense, JTV. That's also one component that renders the gun a paperweight if they fail! Interesting notes about employment in Finnish vs. Soviet hands.

The two automatic settings on the early BARs was interesting. I haven't seen that on any of the other F/A weapons I've shot.

Pat
He who lives by the sword, should train with it frequently.

Return to “Small Arms”